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United States Patent 9,612,711
Horstmann ,   et al. April 4, 2017

Wireless telephones and methods for sharing information among and between individuals and groups

Abstract

An organizer uses software to define a conference or meeting to take place at a physical meeting location, and to include a list of attendees. The attendees can receive the meeting information, including the location and attendee list, via handheld wireless devices. Also via their handheld wireless devices, the attendees can link to and display pages associated with other attendees, send and receive messages to and from one another, arrange further on-site or offsite meetings, and share various types of personal and business information.


Inventors: Horstmann; Jens (Santa Clara, CA), Katajamaki; Matti (Sunnyvale, CA), Zarea; Saeed (San Jose, CA), Potter; Susan (Redwood City, CA), Wiesner; Miroslav Charles (San Jose, CA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Horstmann; Jens

Santa Clara

CA

US
Assignee: MOBILE-PLAN-IT, LLC (Santa Clara, CA)
Family ID: 1000002502067
Appl. No.: 13/694,279
Filed: November 13, 2012


Prior Publication Data

Document IdentifierPublication Date
US 20130080925 A1Mar 28, 2013

Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent NumberIssue Date
13135880Nov 13, 20128312091
11818082Jul 19, 20117984099
09864479Jun 12, 20077231423

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: G06F 3/0481 (20130101); H04L 12/189 (20130101); H04L 12/1813 (20130101); H04W 4/12 (20130101); H04W 60/00 (20130101)
Current International Class: G06F 3/048 (20130101); G06F 3/0481 (20130101); H04W 4/12 (20090101); H04L 12/18 (20060101); H04W 60/00 (20090101)
Field of Search: ;715/753,748

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Other References

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Primary Examiner: Ell; Matthew
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Silicon Edge Law Group LLP Behiel; Arthur J.

Parent Case Text



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 13/135,880 entitled "Methods and system for Organizing Meetings," which was filed Jul. 15, 2011, and issued Nov. 13, 2012, as U.S. Pat. No. 8,312,091. This application is related to U.S. application Ser. No. 13/573,052 entitled "Systems and Methods for Controlling Information Sharing Among and Between Individuals and Groups of Individuals," which was filed Aug. 15, 2012. Each of the foregoing applications is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/818,082, entitled "Interactive Wireless Device Communication System for Meetings and Conferences," which issued on Jul. 19, 2011, as U.S. Pat. No. 7,984,099. Application Ser. No. 11/818,082 is a continuation of U.S. Pat. No. 7,231,423 B1, entitled "Interactive Wireless Device Communication System for Meetings and Conferences," which issued on Jun. 12, 2007. The foregoing documents are incorporated herein by reference.

REFERENCE TO COMPACT DISC APPENDIX

The Compact Disc, which is a part of the present disclosure, includes a recordable Compact Disc (CD-R) containing files and information from which a specific embodiment of an interactive wireless device communication system for meetings and conferences can be built. A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material that is subject to copyright protection. All the material on the Compact Disc is hereby expressly incorporated by reference into the present application. The copyright owner of that material has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights. The files on the Compact Disc, each file listed with its creation date and size, in bytes, are: CalypsoAPI.txt, May 23, 2001 (51,164); CalypsoClient.txt, Nov. 2, 2012 (20,868); Palm.txt, Sep. 26, 2011 (258,855); Server.txt, Sep. 26, 2011 (2,230,442); and UI.txt, Sep. 27, 2011 (345,946).
Claims



What is claimed is:

1. A method for attending a meeting defined as taking place at a physical location and using client-side software executing on a wireless telephone having a user interface, the method comprising: authenticating the wireless telephone with a remote server; automatically synchronizing the client-side software with the remote server to update a profile of a user of the wireless telephone, the profile including a personalized agenda of the user; receiving meeting information at the wireless telephone from the remote server, the meeting information including a conference agenda, the physical location of the meeting, and a list of meeting attendees; displaying on the wireless telephone the list of meeting attendees via the user interface, the list including for each displayed meeting attendee a first link to a web page of the corresponding meeting attendee; receiving, via the user interface of the wireless telephone, input selecting the first link for an attendee of interest among the list of meeting attendees; and responsive to the input, displaying the web page of the attendee of interest on the user interface, the web page including a second link to an additional web page of the attendee of interest, the additional web page including detailed information to be shared by the attendee of interest.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the wireless telephone, responsive to the input, transmits the first link for the attendee of interest to request the web page of the attendee of interest.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the personalized agenda of the user includes a list of additional meetings to take place offsite of the physical location.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the personalized agenda of the user includes a list of additional meetings to take place at the physical location during the first-mentioned meeting.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the profile of the user includes static data about the meeting and personalized data for the user.

6. The method of claim 5, further comprising receiving the static data from the remote server and sending the personalized data to the remote server.

7. The method of claim 1, further comprising receiving and displaying, on the user interface of the wireless telephone, a map of the physical location.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein the map of the physical location depicts a second location of a company on the map.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the second location is within the physical location of the meeting.

10. The method of claim 1, further comprising displaying an exhibitor list via the user interface, the exhibitor list including at least one exhibitor attending the meeting and an exhibitor link to information descriptive of products offered by the exhibitor.

11. The method of claim 10, further comprising: receiving, via the user interface, input selecting the exhibitor link; and responsive to the input selecting the exhibitor link, displaying the information descriptive of the products.

12. The method of claim 1, further comprising authenticating a user of the wireless telephone and automatically synchronizing the client-side software with the remote server to update a profile of the user, the profile of the user including a third link to information to be shared by the user, the method further comprising sending a message from the wireless telephone to the remote server instructing the remote server to share the third link with the attendee of interest.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the information to be shared by the user includes a picture of the user.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising receiving, via the user interface, a download request and, responsive to the download request, saving the picture to the wireless telephone.

15. The method of claim 1, further comprising transmitting meeting updates to update the meeting information.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the updated meeting information includes video information.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein the updated meeting information specifies a second meeting within the first-mentioned meeting.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein updated meeting information specifies the second meeting as within the meeting location.

19. The method of claim 1, wherein the wireless telephone comprises a wireless-application-protocol telephone.

20. The method of claim 1, wherein the wireless telephone supports a wireless network connection of adequate power to provide communication within the physical location of the meeting but not much beyond the physical location of the meeting, and wherein the meeting information is received via the network connection.

21. The method of claim 20, further comprising establishing the network connection with a wireless communication station at the meeting location.

22. A non-transitory computer readable medium containing client-side software for attending a meeting defined as occurring at a physical meeting location and having a meeting agenda, via a user interface of a wireless telephone, wherein executing the software on the wireless telephone to cause the wireless telephone to: authenticate the wireless telephone with a remote server; receive meeting information from the remote server, the meeting information including a physical location of the meeting and a list of meeting attendees; display the list of meeting attendees via the user interface, the list including for each displayed meeting attendee a first link to a web page of the corresponding meeting attendee; receive, via the user interface, input selecting the first link for an attendee of interest among the list of meeting attendees; and responsive to the input, display the web page of the attendee of interest, the web page including a second link to an additional page of the attendee of interest, the additional page including detailed information to be shared by the attendee of interest; wherein executing the software on the wireless telephone authenticates a user of the wireless telephone and automatically synchronizes the client-side software with the remote server to update a profile of the user, the profile including a personalized agenda of the user.

23. The medium of claim 22, wherein the personalized agenda includes a list of additional meetings.

24. The medium of claim 22, wherein synchronizing the client-side software with the remote server includes receiving, on the wireless telephone, a message from the attendee of interest.

25. The medium of claim 22, wherein the profile of the user includes static data about the meeting and personalized data for the user.

26. The medium of claim 25, wherein executing the software on the wireless telephone further causes the wireless telephone to receive the static data from the remote server and send the personalized data to the remote server.

27. The medium of claim 22, wherein executing the software on the wireless telephone further causes the wireless telephone to receive and display, on the user interface, a map of the physical location.

28. The medium of claim 27, wherein the map of the physical location depicts a second location of a company on the map.

29. The medium of claim 22, wherein executing the software on the wireless telephone displays an exhibitor list via the user interface, the exhibitor list including at least one exhibitor attending the meeting and an exhibitor link to information descriptive of products offered by the exhibitor.

30. The medium of claim 22, wherein executing the software on the wireless updates a profile of a user, the profile of the user including a third link to information to be shared by the user, and sends a message to the remote server instructing the remote server to share the third link with the attendee of interest.
Description



TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to wireless devices and methods therefor.

SUMMARY

A conference organizer uses conference software to define a conference and to store conference information on the organizer's computer system. The stored conference information, in one embodiment, includes the conference name, start date, end date, and the location where the conference will take place. The conference information additionally includes a list of conference attendees, and a personal proxy mailbox for each conference attendee. Each conference attendee has a wireless device, such as a personal digital assistant (PDA). The organizer's computer system includes a wireless communication station (for example, disposed at the location of the conference such as in the conference hall) that can communicate in wireless fashion with the wireless devices of the conference attendees at the conference. During the conference, an attendee can use his/her wireless device to access the conference information, select another conference attendee from the list of attendees, and send the selected attendee a message such that the message is stored in the personal proxy mailbox of the selected attendee. The use of personal proxy mailboxes allows attendees to send messages to one another and to receive messages from one another without divulging their primary email addresses. The primary email address of an attendee may, for example, be the primary business email address of the attendee. Examples of attendees include the conference organizer, exhibitors at the conference, sponsors, speakers at the conference, and other individuals attending the conference who are not exhibitors, sponsors, speakers or organizers.

After collecting messages and/or other information into his/her personal proxy at the conference, an attendee can use his/her wireless device and the conference software to move selected parts of the collected information from the attendee's personal proxy to another location (for example, into the attendee's primary email inbox and/or onto the attendee's personal computer). Some period of time after conclusion of the conference, attendee access to their personal proxies on the organizer's computer system is suspended and the storage space on the organizer's computer system used to store the personal proxy information is made available for other uses.

Other embodiments and novel aspects are set forth in the detailed description below. Accordingly, this summary does not purport to define the invention. The invention is instead defined by the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagram of an interactive wireless device communication system for meetings and conferences in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 2 is a flowchart of a method carried out by the system of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Example 1

FIG. 1 is a diagram of a first example of a conference system 100. Conference system 100 involves software executing on a computer system of a conference organizer 101 as well as software executing on computer systems of attendees 102 and 103. The conference software executing on the organizer's computer system in this embodiment is the very same software as the software executing on the computer system of each attendee. In each system, there is software (sometimes called "client side" software) that executes on a wireless device and there is other software (sometimes called "server side" software) that executes on a computer such as a desktop computer or network of computers. In the illustrated example of FIG. 1, the organizer 101 has a wireless device 104 and a desktop personal computer 105.

Client side conference software 106 executes on wireless device 104 whereas server side software 107 executes on desktop personal computer 105. Attendee #1 102 also has a wireless device 108 and a desktop personal computer 109. Wireless device 108 executes client side conference software 110 whereas desktop personal computer 109 executes server side software identical to the software executing on personal computer 105. Attendee #2 103 also has a wireless device 111 and a desktop personal computer 112. Wireless device 111 executes client side conference software 113 whereas desktop personal computer 112 executes server side software identical to the software executing on personal computer 105. All of computers 105, 109 and 112 are coupled to a network (most likely the Internet) such that they can send information to one another via the network if instructed to do so.

Wireless devices 104 and 108 are personal digital assistant (PDA) devices whereas wireless device 111 is a wireless-application-protocol (WAP) telephone. Client side software 106 and 110 may therefore be different from client side software 113 in that it executes on a different hardware platform. It is substantially the same, however, in the way that it communicates with the server side software.

FIG. 2 is a flowchart in accordance with the embodiment of FIG. 1. Organizer 101 uses an organizer user interface 114 of server side software 107 executing on the organizer's computer system to define a conference (step 200). This setting up of the conference may be done either via the wireless device 104 or the desktop computer 105. Arrow 115 in FIG. 1 represents the organizer's defining the conference using the screen and keyboard of desktop computer 105.

In one embodiment, the organizer defines the conference by specifying a list of conference attendees 116, and the time, date, and location 117 of the conference. Organizer 101 may also enter other conference information including a conference agenda 118.

In one embodiment, the organizer defines the conference by specifying conference information 117, e.g. the conference name, start date, end date, and the location where the conference will take place (e.g., city, state, country). The organizer also associates the conference with a list of conference attendees 116. Organizer 101 may also enter other conference information, including lists of sessions and exhibits. Sessions are presentations to groups of conference attendees, and exhibits are company displays, such as a booth on the conference floor. The organizer specifies sessions and exhibits by name and location, and additionally specifies sessions using an abstract of the session content, a start time, and an end time.

Organizer 101 may also specify personalized conference agendas 118 for individual attendees. Attendees can set their agendas by e.g. signing up for sessions or accepting invitations from other attendees. A personalized agenda 118 may include a list of meetings for the attendee scoped to only include those meetings that the attendee created, or those that he/she did not create, all meetings, those remaining, or those for a specific day. Meetings can occur between groups of people during the conference, and may take place offsite.

An attendee may wish to share certain information with the others at the conference. This information may include background information on the attendee, a digital business card, a picture of the attendee, biographical information on the attendee, emails or other communications, information on products or services offered by the attendee, advertising material, technical specifications, and/or written work product of the attendee. Information to be shared may include written textual information, video information, digital pictures, audio information or other types of information stored in digital form.

In the example of FIG. 1, organizer 101 uses user interface 114 to compile such information from attendees #1 and #2 in such a manner that the agenda 118 includes, for each attendee, detailed information on each attendee and a summary of what each attendee will contribute or share or present at the conference. The agenda 118 in one embodiment is a plurality of interlinked web pages. A top-level web page of the agenda may, for example, for each attendee include a link or links to the information that that attendee wishes to share. A viewer of the web-based agenda 118 can access web-based agenda 118, select an attendee of interest, and then click on a link to access additional web-pages for that attendee, where the additional web pages include the more detailed information to be shared. The server side software 107 provides, through user interface 114, assistance in making such a web-based agenda that incorporates information to be shared from the various attendees into the web-based agenda.

The agenda may, for example, be a schedule or time table of a conference, where some of the attendees are speakers and where links associated with each speaker can be selected to find more detailed information on the topic to be presented by the speaker. In another example, the conference may be a convention or trade show where some of the attendees are exhibitors and where links associated with each exhibitor can be selected to find more detailed information on products offered by the exhibitor. For example, a user can see a bitmap of the floor area with a selected company's location highlighted. In another example, the conference may be a business meeting where some of the attendees are reporting their progress on certain action items and where links associated with each reporting attendee can be selected to find a detailed report prepared by the attendee on the action item.

In the example of FIG. 1, each attendee has a "real identity" as well as a "personal proxy." The personal proxy is maintained on the organizer's computer system. The personal proxy 119 for attendee #1 in the example of FIG. 1 is a mailbox and storage space identified as "JENS@COMDEX.COM". This "JENS@COMDEX.COM" mailbox and storage area is a "proxy" in the sense that it, at least to some degree, allows attendee #1 to receive information and communicate with others at the conference without divulging the real identity 120 of attendee #1 ("JENS@OPENGRID.COM") to others at the conference. In this example, JENS@OPENGRID.COM is the primary business email address of attendee #1. Attendee #1 does not want others at the conference to be able to send attendee #1 unwanted advertisements and solicitations to the attendee's primary email address because such voluminous solicitations would obscure more important communications attendee #1 might receive via JENS@OPENNGRID.COM. Attendee #2 also has a personal proxy 121 and a real identity 122.

One or more wireless communication stations 123 and 124 are disposed at the physical location of the conference. These wireless communication stations 123 and 124 are coupled to the organizer's computer system. The wireless communication stations are, in one embodiment, relatively low power RF transmitters/receivers that are adequately powerful to provide communication with the wireless devices within the conference location, but are not so powerful that they transmit much beyond the conference location. In some embodiments, the wireless communication stations are infrared beaming stations (for example, Clarinet EtherIR Star 1000 devices that have wired Ethernet connections to the organizer's computer system).

An attendee on the list of attendees 116 travels to the conference place with his/her wireless device. Alternatively, attendees can rent, purchase, or borrow a suitable wireless device at the conference place. In any case, when the wireless device of the .degree. attendee comes within a communication range of a wireless communication station at the conference place, wireless communication is established (step 201) with server side software 107 of the organizer's computer system. If an attendee #1 is on the list of attendees 116, then attendee #1 is registered (step 202) with the conference software executing on the organizer's computer system. In some embodiments, attendee #1 must be manually registered by personnel at a greeting desk at the conference such that the personnel registers the attendee via desktop computer 105. In other embodiments, the organizer computer system sends the wireless device of the attendee a request to register. The attendee so alerted may then use his/her wireless device to send a communication back to the organizer's computer system that causes the attendee to be registered. In other embodiments, the attendee is automatically registered by the organizer's computer system when communication is established with the attendee's wireless device.

Upon registration, the organizer computer system sends updated conference information (step 203) to the attendee's wireless device. The updated conference information may, for example, include an up-to-date version of agenda 118 and an up-to-date version of the list of attendees 116. A copy of this updated conference information may be moved into the personal proxy of the attendee.

In the illustrated example of FIG. 1, attendee #2 103 is also present and registered at the conference, the wireless device 111 of the attendee #2 being in wireless communication with wireless communication station 124. Attendee #1 102 has provided information to be shared 125. Attendee #2 103 has provided information to be shared 126.

In the method of FIG. 2, attendee #1 during the conference updates (step 204) his/her information to be shared 125. Attendee #1 may do this at the conference using wireless device 108. In the case where attendee #1 is a participant in a business meeting, attendee #1 may learn that another participant would like access to certain information that resides on the computer system 109 of the first attendee. First attendee #1 may therefore use wireless device 108 at the business meeting to provide a link (the link is present in the information to be shared 125) to that information such that another participant at the business meeting can use the link to access the information. Alternatively, attendee #1 may use wireless device 108 to instruct software executing on desktop computer 109 to move selected information from desktop computer 109 to the organizer's computer system so that the other participant can access it there.

In the case where attendee #1 is an exhibitor at a trade show convention, attendee #1 may use desktop computer 109 to change his/her digital exhibit information for certain products or services. The exhibitor (attendee #1) may use the web-based interface of the software executing on the organizer's computer system to change this exhibit information. In the situation where the information to be shared by attendee #1 is incorporated into the part of the agenda reserved for attendee #1, the ability to change the information to be shared once the conference is in progress allows attendee #1 (in this case attendee #1 is an exhibitor) to update his/her portion of the agenda rapidly without requiring intervention of the conference organizer.

In the example of FIG. 2, attendee #2 accesses the updated conference information (step 205) as updated by attendee #1. Where attendee #1 is a participant in a business meeting and provides a link to information on computer 109, attendee #2 can use the link to access the information on computer 109. Alternatively, attendee #1 may have moved information from computer 109 to be part of "attendee #1 information to be shared" 125. Attendee #2 then accesses the information in "attendee #1 information to be shared" 125. Alternatively, attendee #1 may have moved information from computer 109 directly into the personal proxy 121 of attendee #2. This may be accomplished, for example, by sending an email-like message containing the information from computer 109 to ART@COMDEX.COM, where attendee #1 causes this email-like message to be sent using wireless device 108.

In this way, the conference software and the wireless devices provide a mechanism for attendees at the conference to exchange information. An attendee carrying only a wireless device can walk around a convention and exchange information with another attendee carrying only a wireless device. Similarly, two attendees at a business meeting can exchange information using only wireless devices. The entry for an attendee in the list of attendees may include the personal proxy name (JENS@COMDEX.COM is a personal proxy name in this example) of the attendee such that other attendees can select that personal proxy name as a destination address for a message.

In the example of FIG. 2, once the information from attendee #1 is present in personal proxy 121 of attendee #2, attendee #2 moves at least some of that information from personal proxy 121 to the real identity 122 (step 206) of attendee #2. Attendee #2 can use wireless device 111 or desktop computer 112 to initiate this move of information.

In one example, attendee #2 collects a great deal of information at a trade show conference. The information is collected into personal proxy 121 in the form of stored files. Attendee #2 leaves the conference and returns to his/her office. Desktop computer 112 is located at the office. Attendee #2 uses desktop computer 112 to review the information in personal proxy 121. Attendee #2 uses the conference software executing on desktop computer 112 to move selected parts of that information from personal proxy 121 on the organizer's computer system to a storage location of computer 112. Attendee #1 does the same. Attendee #1 looks through information stored in the personal proxy 119 of attendee #1 and moves (step 207) selected parts of that information from personal proxy 119 on the organizer's computer system to a suitable storage location on computer 109.

After a certain amount of time, the server side conference software 107 executing on the organizer's computer system deletes all personal proxies including personal proxies 119 and 121. Attendees that wish to retain information in their personal proxies therefore must move that information to another suitable storage location before the organizer computer system deletes the information in the personal proxies. In other embodiments, the organizer computer system sends attendees potentially interesting information prior to deletion, or sends attendees an alert prior to deletion.

In some embodiments, the organizer 101 is one of the attendees and wireless communication station 123 is disposed in a conference room within the organizer's office. Each business meeting taking place in the conference room is defined in the conference software by a conference date and time and a list of attendees. In one embodiment, the conference software is part of an office software suite. The conference software may, for example, work in conjunction with or be incorporated into a program such as Microsoft's Outlook program. Rather than just syncing conference information into a regular folder in Outlook, the conference software provides a virtual folder accessible through Outlook that contains, on a per-conference basis, conference information (conference information includes, among other things, contacts, a calendar, notes, and messages). Such integration with Outlook allows the attendee to create an overlay with another regular Outlook folder such that the attendee can move (e.g., drag and drop) selected items from the virtual folder to the other regular folder, where both the virtual folder and the regular folder are accessible from Outlook.

Although the collection of information using personal proxies is explained here as being collected on the organizer's computer system, the information may also be collected elsewhere. For example, the conference software provides an option to each attendee to have information flowing into the attendee's personal proxy forwarded straight through the personal proxy and directly to another destination. The attendee, for example, enters the real identity (for example, another email address) into the conference software such that information flowing into the personal proxy is automatically forwarded to the real identity. When this forwarding option is selected, the conference software still serves to allow others at the conference to send information to the attendee without the others ever knowing the ultimate destination for the information. The information, however, rather than being stored on the organizer's computer system, is stored elsewhere (for example, on the computer system of the attendee).

Client side conference software 106 synchronizes with server side software 107 in three modes, First deployment, Sign Up/First Authentication, and Profile Synching. First deployment encapsulates the process of first getting the client onto the wireless device. This can be done in two ways: via cradle installation/update; infrared beaming. The users will be given a chance to download the client onto their desktop and upload client onto PDA via cradle. Alternatively the user can get beamed the application on the conference floor via an IR Star 1000 for example. Sign-Up/First Authentication mode allows the user to use the application. This can be done via IR to send user preferred username-password pair to server and server acceptance later received by the PDA. This username and password can be stored internally without login by the user every time a profile synching (see below) is required like a cookie. The Profile Synching mode is when the user wants to update static data (static data concerning the exhibitors, categories, floor plans/maps, sessions, etc.) and sending personalized data (like sending new messages) and downloading new personalized data (like receiving messages for a specific user).

Example 2

A second example of a conference system is now described. The server-side conference software is different from the client-side conference software. In one specific embodiment, the computer system upon which the server-side software executes includes a DELL server coupled to the internet, a Sun Solaris database server, a local computer system at the conference location that is coupled to the internet, a 802.11 wireless access point device, and an IR beaming station. The server-side conference software executes on top of Weblogic application server software that in turn runs on a Windows 2000 operating system that in turn runs on the DELL server. This server-side conference software provides a web-based interface. The conference organizer uses the local computer at the conference location to access the DELL server via the Internet and the web-based interface. The server-side software running on the DELL server communicates with an Oracle database (another part of the server-side software) running on the Sun Solaris database server. The conference information (for example, the list of attendees, the list of exhibitors, product information, the conference agenda, agendas personalized by attendees, attendee buddy lists, session data, attendee message inboxes and message outboxes) is stored on the Sun Solaris database server. Both the 802.11 wireless access point and the IR beaming station are located at the conference location and are coupled via Ethernet connections to the local computer.

The attendee wireless devices in one specific system of Example 2 include: 1) laptop computers, 2) Compaq iPaq pocket PCs, and 3) Palm OS based PDA devices. The laptop computers and iPaq pocket PCs communicate in wireless fashion with the 802.11 wireless access point. The wireless access point may, for example, be a wireless access point available from IBM, CISCO or Linksys. The Palm OS based PDA devices communicate with the IR beaming station using the IrOBEX infrared communication protocol. The IR beaming station may, for example, be an IR beaming station available from Clarinet Systems. The conference system of Example 2 may include multiple such IR beaming stations and multiple such 802.11 wireless access points.

Using a wireless device at the conference, a first attendee can select a second attendee's name from a list of attendees, compose a message to the second attendee, and send the message to a personal proxy mailbox of the second attendee without knowing the primary email address of the second attendee. The second attendee can then respond to the first attendee using the second attendee's personal proxy mailbox name as the source of the message such that the first attendee does not learn the primary email address of the second attendee. Accordingly, a conference attendee can communicate by sending and receiving messages without divulging the attendee's real identity (for example, without divulging the attendee's primary email address). Although the personal proxy mailboxes may be usable by attendees for some period of time before and after the conference, the personal proxy mailboxes are only accessible for a time period that is roughly coextensive with the duration of the conference.

Conference software 107 can group collections of attendees together based upon e.g. a common interest and facilitate inter-group sharing of information. For example, attendees associated with a given interest-based group can send messages to other group members to set up meetings. Group membership may be derived from attendee sign-up information or can be based upon enrollment. In one embodiment conference software 107 supports the following types of attendee groupings: conference, session (a presentation to a group of attendees), exhibit (e.g., a booth on the conference floor), company, buddies, and "birds of a feather" (like buddies, but sponsored by a company). Group members can then communicate with one another using various forms of messages. For example, notifications, invitations, or announcements can be directed to individuals or groups for immediate delivery or selective retrieval. The use of proxies allows attendees to participate in groups without divulging their primary email address.

Buddy groups are attendee groupings that are setup and maintained by attendees themselves. An individual may have several buddy groupings for different interests. Each attendee may setup multiple buddy groups, and may belong to other attendee's groups. Conference software 107 allows each attendee to request and receive a list of buddy lists that are not owned by the attendee, but where the attendee is a member. Conference software 107 also allows each attendee to get a list of attendees in a specified buddy list. If the specified buddy list is not owned by the attendee, then conference software 107 includes the owner of the buddy list.

The Compact Disc Appendix (the entire contents of the Compact Disc Appendix is part of this patent document and is hereby expressly incorporated by reference into this patent document) includes client-side conference software in accordance with Example 2 (executes on the attendee wireless devices) as well as server-side conference software in accordance with Example 2 (executes on the organizer's computer system). The following listing of files describes briefly the contents of a CD appendix that includes the source code for a specific working embodiment of the invention. The source code is annotated with further descriptive language, and is fully enabling.

The "palm.txt" document contains client software that resides on a portable digital assistant that runs the Palm Operating System, or Palm OS.RTM..

Descriptions with the term "common" are common in the sense that they are shared among the various software components running on the client Palm-enabled device. Shared, or "common," resources include global variables and global properties. Shared resources also include common functionalities, such as sending messages from one layer to another.

Descriptions with the term "messaging" facilitate messaging. For example, this software forwards messaging requests to an infrared communication engine for forwarding to a server.

Profile software allows client-side users to log into the system.

A session is a presentation to a group of people at a conference. "Session" software includes a session engine that orders and retrieves specific sessions defined by a conference organizer.

The term "util" identifies a utility that decomposes strings.

The Palm.txt file describes a communication (or "comm") layer. In general, the comm layer returns the appropriate classes to handle networking or data-layer operations.

The Palm.txt file describes communication software that returns the appropriate classes to handle profiles, preferences, session data, messages, and user data.

The Palm.txt file contains communication software that returns the appropriate classes to handle lower-level IR functionality (infra-red communication between client and server).

The Palm.txt file contains data structures that define the physical layouts for related collections of data.

The Palm.txt file contains "ui" software, which in turn contains objects defining the client-side user interface.

The Palm.txt file includes components that allow the client user to customize the palm user interface.

The Server.txt file contains server software that resides on a server that runs Win2000 Server (also Solaris). The application servers are clustered to handle server failover.

The Server.txt file includes a cache manager, designated cachemgr, that speeds requests for frequently accessed information, such as lists of conference attendees.

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "clarinet." Clarinet Systems, Inc..RTM. is a company that provides IR connectivity to enable users of handheld appliances, such as those using the Palm OS.RTM. to communicate over a network. The various "clarinet" files include IR connectivity software from or adapted from Clarinet Systems, Inc..RTM.

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "Enterprise Java Beans (ejb)." Enterprise JavaBeans (ejb) is a specification for creating server-side scalable, transactional, multi-user secure enterprise-level applications. The ejb objects encapsulate the data models and the business logic of this software.

The Server.txt file contains an internationalization object that simplifies adapting this software to communicate with users in different languages (e.g., Spanish and English).

The Server.txt file contains software that facilitates access to objects that define a data model layer, a business logic layer, and an interface layer

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "clarinet."./server/internal: This directory includes software that changes string format.

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "jsp." JSP stands for JAVA SERVER PAGES. This file includes JSP administration interface pages and forms that allow users or marketing people to add users or components.

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "locale." This file includes software related to internationalization, including a unique set of properties for each supported language.

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "mailsetup," which contains an object that provides communication with a mail server. The object manages the mail server, e.g. facilitating the creation, maintenance, and deletion of mail accounts.

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "messaging," which includes an object that allows users to send, receive, reply, or delete messages.

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "objects," which includes data structures used by the entire server system.

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "ogirproxy," which includes a software proxy that facilitates communication between the application server and the IR connectivity software.

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "palmutils," which includes a number of utilities that convert data and information into the Palm database (pdb) format.

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "request," which includes software that parses types of user requests and calls functions to prepare responses to the requests.

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "servlets," which includes objects that handle client requests by communicating with EJBs through the interfaces and composing reply messages in a format understood by clients.

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "systmgr," which enables Enterprise JavaBeans and application server processes running on different hardware to share information in a clustering setup.

The Server.txt file contains software that refers to "util," which includes objects used by the application server.

The UI.txt file contains software that defines the server user interfaces. There are several types to facilitate use with different types of devices.

The organizer's computer system in this case includes the DELL server, the Sun Solaris server, the local computer, the 802.11 wireless access point coupled to the local computer, and the IR beaming station coupled to the local computer despite the fact that part of the system may be operated by an entity other than the conference organizer. Additional details on the conference system of Example 2 are found on the Compact Disc Appendix in the documents entitled: 1) "API Document For Interactive Wireless Device Communication System for Meetings and Conferences."; and 2) "Calypso Client-Side Design (Palm)". Paper copies of these documents are also submitted herewith, and are also incorporated herein by reference. The API Document contains comments, definitions, and a psuedocode computer program listing.

Although the invention is described above in connection with specific exemplary embodiments, the present invention is not limited thereto. Any suitable type of wireless communication station can be employed. The particular wireless communication stations in the examples above are but examples. Similarly, any suitable type of wireless device can be employed. The particular wireless devices in the examples above are but examples. The conference organizer's computer system may involve a single hardware server platform and associated wireless communication device, or may involve multiple computer systems that are coupled together via a network or networks. Accordingly, various modifications, adaptations, and combinations of various features of the described embodiments can be practiced without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth in the claims.

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